Running TikTok Ads for the First Time. Journaling Results and Headaches

By Ian Fernando

Recently the past couple of weeks I have been playing around with TikTok Ads. As a media buyer, you should be testing all traffic sources. The reason you do not want to be a Plenty of Fish advertiser and then do not know how to run other verticals or platforms, you become obsolete.

It is always important to take a loss on new traffic platforms, you learn and gain experience. So lose.

I never did like advertising on Snapchat, TikTok has a much easier interface to play around with and it is easier to get started right away. The big drawback I have been reading was creative death. Meaning your ad creatives tends to die pretty fast, within 3 days. TikTok will deem to decide that your creative isn't good enough.

I believe that is based on the CTR and I think there is a bare bottom creative CTR TikTok is looking for. If it doesn't accomplish that then it just decides to slowly lower the impression and even just kill it... example below.

You can see this specific creative took 3 days to get a bucket of impressions, then TikTok decided that it wasn't good enough and stopped showing impressions. TikTok is choosy of the type of ad creatives you are uploading and how users are interacting with it. (my opinion)

Creative Are Key to Performance

I found creatives are super important. I found a person to create video creatives on Fiverr. Later I found out they didn't perform well. This is why I never got much into Youtube ads, SnapChat, or any video-related ads. There are just too many variables to test within a video vs stand-alone graphic.

Now I have an easy process to create a ton of video creatives pretty much in the same day. In the end, your ad creative needs a decent engagement CTR. If not your ad just dies. You need constant creatives.

TikTok is time consuming.

My First Offer on TikTok

The basic setup is pretty easy, I am using RedTrack as my tracker for TikTok because they have an integration. I think it will make it easy to pass variables over and more importantly conversions.

So what offer am I testing? from where?

My assumption with this campaign is zip submit, it is easy. I have done a lot of first page offers on Push and thought it is that easy as well. As you will read later on it was not and it is because of some issues I found with the offer. Luckily I switched it out for a better offer on A4D.

Creating TikTok Ad Creatives

I got one video designed via Fiverr like a traditional advertorial, non-UGC. I got 4 videos that I am just going to RIP from TikTok and add my own video effects to it and context, they are short enough that I can edit and add my CTA to them.

  • Search on TikTok with keywords like car crashes, road rage, car accidents, etc.
  • Search videos with clear information or entertaining videos (I am testing if popular videos vs non popular ones makes a difference)
  • Used a website called to download TikTok videos without the watermark.
  • Use Canva to add text, even transitions to create a clear CTA

This will usually take me a day (depending on how lazy I am, but it can be done in just a couple of hours) as I need to do some research on spy platforms and see what is out there already.

I am going to reuse videos off TikTok and just extend them with more context. I already have one done advertorial style. Creating unique videos will be expensive, so why not just recycle - save the world.

It is just still images and context below it. I got this done on Fiverr for like 30$

I read UGC (user generated content) does better, but again I don't trust too much media until I do it myself. Plus being TikTok is still brand new, I want to see how it affects CTR and impressions. Testing is always better than trying to believe what is out there.

Here are some stats on the campaign after a couple of days. This is where I started to find out about creative performance and started to understand their ad algo a bit more.

I break down this campaign in the AffLift Forum.

It isn't about the creatives but also the campaign setup, the audience setup. When I start, I set up a campaign based on compound experiences running similar offers on multiple networks.

Usually, that is a first approach and a smart approach. In this case, it didn't work in my favor so I had to re-adjust and do the 'chad' style marketing. Open everything. I also found an issue with my offer, as an ad group got rejected.

Ad Rejection

After a couple of days of running the campaign got rejected, due to context on the page. I was actually direct linking to the offer, the payout was low and there was no need for a landing page. I usually tend to always do a landing page prior to the offer, but a low payout didn't pique my interest to do one.

Since the ad was rejected for context on the offer, I had to make a landing page. I created the most simple landing page possible...

Since this is on mobile, a super easy simple page is all that is needed. Straight to the point to encourage click to the offer.

This landing page avoided any context that caused my campaign to be rejected in the first place. I resubmitted my ads and they got approved. I let this campaign run but again it started to die out after 3 days. The LP CTR wasn't impressive and still no conversions after several hundred spent.

I then thought it had to be the offer, I rotated it in with another and I saw a conversion from the offer I rotated in. (insert TikTok dance here)

The next step was creating a whole new campaign with the new data I got. Since I only have 1 conversion, I used the click data to rebuild a new campaign.

Currently, it is a test zone and I am curious how this new auto insurance offer will perform. I will be journaling my results in the Afflift Forum if you want to stay updated with my conversations and conversions.

I will keep that forum thread updated and post any new idea/discovery that I come across in my TikTok auto insurance campaign.

Ian Fernando
Involved in the internet space since 2002 and have been through the ups and downs of this online industry. I am a traveling digital nomad, media buyer, online strategist, and many more online titles.

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